[EDITORIALS]Hands off the prosecution

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[EDITORIALS]Hands off the prosecution

Prosecutor General Song Kwang-soo strongly resisted some politicians’ moves to close the Central Investigation Department at the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office. What Mr. Song said was shocking: “The measure to close it came from those who have grudges because of the prosecution’s investigation into the illegal campaign financing scandal in the 2002 presidential election.”
We wonder who those unhappy with the investigation are? Mr. Song should not equivocate, saying only “those who have grudges.” He should specify who they are. By doing so, he would tell the public why it is wrong to close the department and gain public support.
The department, since its establishment in 1981, has experienced both glory and shame. While investigating high-profile figures like presidents, politicians, top civil servants and big business leaders, it has been praised. But it often has been under fire when it dabbled in politics.
The department just recovered public confidence by its thorough investigation of the 2002 illegal election financing. And we now wonder why there is a discussion going on concerning the shutdown of it.
If the move to close the department comes from those in the administration who are upset with its investigations of the aides of President Roh Moo-hyun, that is repugnant. The president has mentioned the need to control the prosecution a few times. We hope that the discussion of the department’s close did not originate with the president’s remarks. If that is the case, however, than the Roh administration will be criticized for moral shortcomings.
If the discussion about closing the department was triggered by the plan to establish an alternative investigating body to check civil servants inside the Korea Independent Commission Against Corruption, then the discussion is wrong again. The commission is directly influenced by the president and it appears that installing such a new body in the commission is the administration’s scheme to control investigations.
We are relieved since the prime minister-designate and the Blue House director general for policy planning oppose the move to establish a new body in the commission. Any talk of closing the department should be done within the framework of proposed judicial reforms.
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